A great mid-Atlantic rivalry is emerging between these two schools and wrestling fans should take note. Last year’s dual was a two-point affair and I see this being just as close. Rider is coming into this match enjoying one of their best dual seasons that I can remember. Drexel comes into this match up with a criteria loss to #5 Lehigh as a wake up call to their foes: when they’re healthy they’re a force to be reckoned with. Rider comes in as what I think is the most complete college team in NJ but we won’t find out for sure until Rutgers puts them on the schedule. Drexel has assumed the mantle as the best team in Philly with plans to make more noise at EIWA’s. Both teams have been tested this season making trips to Iowa and facing multiple top 10 teams along the way. Rider looked mentally ready against Lock haven last week, can they maintain? They lost last night to Clarion with a few of the usually starters out of the line up. Drexel comes in after a tough loss to Binghamton. Can they bounce back? They face Hofstra.
Get down to the DAC Sunday. There will be plenty of time to get home for the Super Bowl afterwards.
125lbs: JR Wert (RU) vs. Zack Fuentes (DU). Fuentes owns two wins over Wert, the last one was a 2-1 victory at last year’s dual. Fuentes hasn’t improved the way I thought he would over the last five years. He doesn’t bring a signature win into this dual. Wert knocked off Barlow McGhee earlier this season. I think Fuentes is quicker from neutral but will he pull the trigger and get through Wert’s hands and hips defense? Drexel needs this one to have a chance of winning. Toss up but I’m slightly leaning toward Wert.
133lbs: Anthony Cefolo (RU) vs. #5 Austin Desanto (DU). The Freshman DeSanto has put the 133lb. weight class on notice. He has beaten a few top 20 guys this season. Can Cefolo hang with him? Cefolo isn’t afraid to go upstairs and tie up which might play right into DeSanto’s far arm dump. I’m giving DeSanto bonus points. I think Drexel needs 6 here to win.
141lbs: #25 Tyson Dippery (RU) vs. Julian Flores (DU). Another match that I see clear separation. It might be close from neutral but I think that Dippery’s array of angles that he hits tilts from might get him a bonus points win, unless Flores can win the neutral game and doesn’t take down. I’m not sure that Dippery would take top if he’s down 2-1 in the match? This one could turn into a chess match. I’ll take Dippery finding a way to getting on top and blowing open the score from there.
149lbs: Gary Dinmore (RU) vs. Trevor Elfvin (DU). Dinmore owns a victory over Elfvin back in Novemer. Dinmore has struggled with his weight and cardio this season but seems to be improving. I think that the previous meeting will feed Dinmore’s confidence. I haven’t seen Elfvin this season but I’m giving the edge to Dinmore.
157lbs: #12 BJ Clagon (RU) vs. #22 Garett Hammond (DU). Rankings here can be deceiving. Clagon has beaten some of the top guys but hasn’t been consistent. He’s knocked off Pantaleo at the All Star classic to open the season but hasn’t beat anyone in the top 20 since then. Hammond, who missed the first part of the season due to injury, has climbed the rankings with only one win over a top 20 guy. Which Clagon shows up? Clagon has been using the tie up position as a resting spot, beware Hammond can attack from a tie up. If Hammond’s pushing the pace I’m not sure Clagon will be able to respond? Toss up.
165lbs: #5 Chad Walsh (RU) vs. #30 Ebed Jarrell (DU). Both Jarrell and Walsh’s best win this season is a similar score over Cornell’s Womack. Of course Walsh is a returning 2 time AA. He took his first loss of the season last weekend to Chance Marsteller. While Jarrell is much improved this season Walsh might be a feel that he’s not used to and is hard to prepare for. Walsh has some unique attack positions; his chin grab ¼ nelson has turned a lot of guys. Edge Walsh, can he get to critical bonus points?
174lbs: #25 Dean Sherry (RU) vs. Austin Rose (DU). Sherry bonus points Jarrell in last year’s dual and seems to have gotten much better since then. I think that Sherry is better from neutral than Rose but Rose’s lower hips will make it hard for Sherry to get in deep in a shot. That said Sherry also has some nice short offense that might work on Rose when he puts his head down or ear-to-ear in a tie up. I think this one is close, but edge Sherry.
184lbs: Michale Fagg-Daves/Wayne Stinson (RU) vs. Alex DeCiantis (DU). Rider kept MFD out of their big match up with Lock haven last week but Stinson was DQed from a match he was winning, so I’m not sure who will go here for Rider. I think that it’s a closer match if they bump Stinson up again. I don’t think Stinson can finish on DeCiantis due to size. I also think that DeCiantis has better cardio than then MFD. DeCiantis has 3 close wins over MFD but I think that DeCiantis is the better all around wrestler. Edge DeCiantis.
197lbs: Ethan Laird (RU) vs. #16 Stephen Loiseau (DU). Laird is one of my favorite freshmen. He’s athletic and driven, good traits for a D1 wrestler. That said Loiseau has beaten him via bonus points already this season. Loiseau is putting together a nice senior season. Keep an eye on him come March. He could be a round of 12 guy. Edge Loiseau.
285lbs: Mauro “Smash” Correnti (RU) vs. Vincenzo Pelusi (DU). Pelusi, a freshman, doesn’t own a win over a top fifty guy this season and Correnti will be a tall order for him to deal with. Correnti, like many wrestlers, can smell blood in the water and turn it on if he feels like he has the edge. If the dual comes down to this match I’ll take Rider as Correnti has an edge here.
I have Rider winning 6 matches to 4. Don’t take it personally – I’m wrong quite often.